ALCF Augustus Sassa Home Movie Clip7357-50
Kennedy Home Movies by Augustus Sassa
This clips (7347-50) were shot by amateur photographer by Augustus Sassa. The Metro Theatre Center Foundation is the copyright holder and custodian of these film clips (combined here) from the Augustus Sassa Collection. The original film elements are housed and archived at the Academy Film Archive. The original film assets were preserved through a National Film Preservation Foundation grant. The 4k digital capture was completed through a 2016 Al Larvick National Grant awarded by the Al Larvick Conservation Fund (ALCF) in partnership with its sponsor, Pro8mm.
The mission of the Al Larvick Conservation Fund is to preserve historical and cultural heritage through conservation, education, and the public accessibility of American home & amateur analog audiovisual materials. For more information, visit allarvickfund.org.
About Metro Theatre Center Foundation: Ron Merk, Director of Film and Cultural Programs for the foundation has been in the motion pictures industry for nearly 50 years, and works closely with other organizations that are devoted to film preservation, including The Library of Congress, The UCLA Film and Television Archives, and The Academy Film Archives. The URL for the foundation is www.MetroCenterFoundation.org
Please respect the creative commons licensing assigned to this collection. Commercial license available. Contact Ron@ indieplex.org
Collection Title: Kennedy Home Movies by Augustus Sassa
Original format: 8mm film, silent
Original digital capture (2017): 4k (4093 x 3112) DPX
Running time: Approx. 28min
The man who filmed the JFK and RFK films was the late Augustus Sassa. Augustus lived from 1911-1990. He resided in Philadelphia, PA. He was an amateur filmmaker who was fascinated by the Kennedy family and filmed them in different locations. He travelled to Washington, DC for the JFK funeral, and amazingly stayed with the procession the whole time. The films sat in the family bank safe deposit box for nearly 50 years, and were ultimately retrieved by Mr. Sassa's grandson, Daniel, who offered them to The Metro Theatre Center Foundation for preservation and to be made available for viewing, research and study by the public.
(0:06) Some footage of the ground as Sassa walks with his camera. (0:09) A baby in a stroller being pushed by a man. They are both wearing large bright orange buttons that read “I’m For Stu, How About You?”. (0:20) An airplane on the runway of what is probably the Greater Pittsburgh Airport. (0:25) A man emerges from the plane and shakes some hands. Others are wearing the orange button. The men and women are all dressed in their finest clothes. (1:05) The camera pans around the runway to capture all the figures mingling.
(1:29) Quick shot of a black car. (1:31) Men smile at the camera as they wait outside a building. (1:50) We get some close-ups of the men. (2:04) Close-up of the back window of a black car as it pulls away. (2:08) A woman holds her hat to prevent it from flying off in the wind. (2:21) A group of men talk. (2:32) A man in a green car drives away. (2:38) A man and a woman smile for the camera.
(3:05) John F. Kennedy on the campaign trail, shaking hands. The camera pans over to Eunice Kennedy Shriver, JFK’s sister. (3:13) Another shot of Shriver that pans over to JFK observing a man speaking on a microphone. Large crowds of people are gathered to observe. (3:33) A closer shot of JFK as he speaks to reporters and the people. (4:06) Long shot of JFK amid the sea of people. He is mounted on a white mule (http://www.gettyimages.com/license/183127930). A check of the photos from the Boston Herald Collection shows that this was taken on 9/22/60 in Sioux City, IA. The caption reads "TAKES DARE--In answer to a shouted "I dare you," U.S. Sen. John Kennedy mounted this white mule at the Sioux City Stockyards today for a brief "canter" into the nearby cattle alleys..." Ron Merk, the film’s copyright holder, writes: “The footage of JFK just ‘being himself’ in a crowd and making everyone feel comfortable is the reason why he is the President that is most associated with the terms ‘charisma’ and ‘movie star good looks.”
(4:10) Quick shot from the dashboard of a car. (4:11) JFK boards his plane, “Caroline” (inscribed on side of plane). (4:20) Eunice Kennedy Shriver runs toward the plane, waving at the camera. (4:24) Shot of the exterior of plane “Caroline,” as people board. (4:35) We see who could possibly be Kenny O’Donnell, JFK’s consultant. The camera pans over to other people milling about the runway strip. (4:51) Quick shot of a man in a car.
(5:08) A young boy sits on a ledge. (5:10) We see Robert Kennedy addressing the crowd, smiling. (5:17) We see a speaker addressing the crowd on a microphone. (5:22) Another speaker who resembles FDR Jr. If it is him, that places the campaign footage in West Virginia. (5:27) Finally, Robert Kennedy speaks. (5:43) Someone else takes the mic stand. (5:48) Quick nature shot of trees in autumn.
(6:04) This footage is in Aliquippa, PA on 10/12/1962 (https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-ST-464-16-62.aspx). There is an enormous crowd of people gathered in the 400 block of Franklin Avenue. The gray building on the left still stands today. (6:12) The police are moving people along as the motorcade arrives, driving up Sheffield Avenue. People are on the far hill observing. The dais is set up on a then-new downtown municipal parking lot. Everyone is having red and green “WELCOME MR. PRESIDENT” pennants as JFK takes the stage. The “PARKING” sign that can be glimpsed at 6:35 is still there today, as of 2017. A large yellow banner for the Beaver County Times (Aliquippa was a part of Beaver County) can be seen. (6:44) JFK takes a seat on the stage as someone begins to speak at the podium (https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHA-137-001.aspx). (7:03) JFK takes the podium as people clap. He begins his speech. He is standing in front of the Plan 7 housing development. The crowd on the hill behind him is very integrated, quite notable for 1960s Aliquippa. (7:39) Camera pans across the crowd as JFK speaks. (7:56) JFK steps down from the podium. Large group of men on stage shaking hands. (8:33) JFK, in his car, waves to the crowd as the motorcade departs Aliquippa via Sheffield Avenue. After the assassination, the town of Aliquippa changed the name of “Constitution Boulevard” to “Kennedy Boulevard.”
(9:27) Shot of a large parking lot with a crowd gathered. (9:30) The military salutes JFK’s car as it goes by. He salutes back. Secret Service agent Jerry Behn can also be seen. The full motorcade goes by. (9:50) JFK is standing and waving from his car.
We now cut ahead to JFK’s funeral in Washington D.C. (10:08) A military band, dressed in red, makes its way down the street, followed by the military with their rifles. (10:27) Shot of the soldiers’ feet as they march on. (10:32) Soldiers marching. (10:36) Another shot of soldiers’ feet. (10:39) Shot of the band. (10:45) Soldiers marching. (10:53) Soldiers on horses. The coffin draped in an American flag follows behind. (11:00) Another angle of the coffin being led down the street. The camera zooms in on a black horse, called “Black Jack,” being led by Private First Class Arthur A. Carlson. (11:17) Another angle of the coffin. “People often ask if cameraman Augustus Sassa had wings because of his camera positions and unique views of the funeral,” writes Merk. (11:23) A black car drives by, surrounded by secret service. (11:31) Shot of the flag at half-mast.
(11:38) Camera zooms in on a street sign outside of the church building but the shot is too blurry to make out what it says. (11:45) Shot of the top of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle where the Requiem Mass is being held. (11:55) Large mass of people outside the church. (12:06) Another shot of the street intersection, this time clearer. We are at the corner of St. Matthews Court and Rhode Island Avenue. (12:08) Another shot of the church’s exterior. (12:18) Quick shot of a tree with red leaves.
(12:19) The coffin and horses pass by in the funeral motorcade. (12:43) A quick shot of another street. (12:44) Quick shot of people with wheelchairs being helped across the street. (12:47) the soldiers, band and priest marching down the street. The coffin finally follows close behind. People salute from the side of the street. (13:06) https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-AR8255-2J.aspx
(13:43) Shot of the street taken from a higher angle. (13:50) A different high angle shot. (13:57) Yet another angle, covering an entire square, soldiers can be seen marching. (14:04) Another shot of soldiers marching from above. (14:11) Shot of a square where traffic is being directed. (14:19) Flag on top of a building at half-mast. (14:23) Another high angle shot of the street. (14:29) Clergy dressed in red entering the church. (14:36) Groups of men in suits walking toward the building. (14:47) Long processions of soldiers marching. The high vantage point helps to show off the large scale of the event. (15:27) A closer shot of the soldiers marching. (15:31) Back to the other angle. (15:51) The coffin, pulled by the horses, comes into view. (15:53) Bagpipe players of the Black Watch Tattoo Royal Highland Regiment. (15:56) Another shot of the horses carrying the coffin with Black Jack behind it. (16:05) The coffin comes to a stop in front of the cathedral. (16:10) Family members and other dignitaries walk towards the building. (16:22) Jackie Kennedy and children can be seen walking towards the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, Washington. (16:25) More of the clergy gather. (16:30) Mass of people outside the church. (16:35) People enter the church. (16:39) More family members, dignitaries, and clergy enter the church. (16:52) https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/Archives/JFKWHP-1963-11-25-A.aspx
(17:03) Shot of the horses and coffin outside the church. (17:09) More people walking into the church. (17:19) Soldiers march the coffin into the church. (18:21) Shot of the street from above, showing the large amounts of people gathered as well as the news crews covering the event. (18:33) The doors of the cathedral are closed. (18:43) The horses cart the carriage away now that the coffin has been moved. (18:46) Clergy and soldiers holding an American flag exit the cathedral. (19:05) Soldiers carry the coffin from the cathedral. (19:15) Jackie Kennedy and children stand solemnly in front of the coffin. (19:27) The coffin is placed back in the carriage. (19:31) The coffin is moved away. (19:36) Wide shot of the street as the coffin departs. (19:39) More people exit the cathedral and enter their cars. (20:26) Another shot of the street as traffic is directed through. (20:38) Shot of the large crowd.
(21:00) We are at JFK’s temporary gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery. A white picket fence surrounds the site which is covered in flowers and surrounded by people. (21:22) Another angle. People pass the grave to pay their respects. (21:29) Further shot shows the scale of the amount of people who have visited the site. (21:44) Long shot of people gathered. (21:50) Another distant shot of people. Men, women and children. (22:06) Close up on the flowers at the gravesite. A fire burns. (22:31) Another shot of people gathered at the cemetery.
(22:45) An American Airlines plane, sitting on the runway. (22:48) Shot of the flight control tower. (22:52) The plane’s propellors spin. (22:58) Robert Kennedy’s car drives by with him in it (a campaign poster is taped to the side). (23:07) Robert exits the car and greets people. He appears to be signing autographs. (23:27) Closeup of Robert’s face as he goes down the line, shaking everyone’s hand. (23:47) Another angle, keeping tight on Robert’s face as he greets more people. (24:09) Robert runs under the plane. (24:15) Robert, alone, walking on the runway. He takes off his jacket. Merk describes this as “an extraordinarily personal moment.” (24:18) Shot of the plane. (24:19) Quick shot of the car. (24:21) The doors to the plane close. (24:30) Quick shot of the crowd at the airport. (24:33) The propellors of the plane begin to spin. (24:49) People wave goodbye as the plane begins moving. Someone tosses a briefcase up to the pilot’s window. (25:00) The plane begins its departure.
(25:15) Band marches through the street during the St. Patrick’s Day New York Parade. (25:32) We see the American flag and the NYC Transit Police flag, as well as the Irish flag. (25:39) Another shot of the band. One of the drums says Iona College. (25:44) Robert Kennedy marches and waves toward people in the parade. (25:53) Shot of kids sitting and watching the parade. (25:58) Another shot of people watching the parade. (26:03) Quick shot of marchers.